In a movement garnered by dozens of student newspapers across the country, April 25 was Save Student Newsrooms Day. Editorials were written, SPJ national put out an official press release in support of it, and our SPJ Region 3 director wrote his own editorial on the topic—but more on that later.
SPJ Florida has been an advocate for student journalists. We offer three college scholarships (here and here—by the way, please apply!), just launched the high school newsroom grant, advocate for New Voices legislation to be passed in Florida, participate in a number of student journalism conferences every year, and help judge student journalism contests.
Why the not-so-humble brag? Because SPJ Florida believes in supporting causes through action.
We love a good hashtag and are avid social media hounds, but as we’ve learned through tragedies rocking our country and charitable campaigns, the real success comes when boots hit the ground and money gets into wallets. In his editorial, our regional director Michael Koretzky criticized the inaction of Save Student Newsrooms Day—can we stop talking about it and actually make things happen?
After the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, its newsroom went into overdrive to put out a stellar memorial issue. And they’re not the only school producing great work. As we approach the Sun Sentinel/Teen Link/SPJ Florida High School Journalism Awards on Monday, judges were bombarded with excellent work from student journalists. Yet, during the application process for our high school newsroom grant, we heard countless stories from schools across the Sunshine State of funds getting cut, outdated equipment, students sharing a handful of ancient computers, and no sign of support from their school.
So enough talk, let’s get to action. Here are some suggestions that our chapter has on how you can make a difference in student journalism:
- Donate cash or supplies to your student newsrooms, whether in your community or your alma mater.
- Offer your time. Volunteer to come in and be a mentor to students.
- Call on your legislators to support student journalism and pass the New Voices law in your state—if you’re lucky enough to have it already, commend your legislators for passing it and encourage them to continue supporting it.
- Encourage your newsroom to connect with students, whether it be newsroom tours or sponsoring stand-out students by helping them with conference or workshop fees.
- Offer to be a judge for student journalism contests.
If this truly resonates with you and you want help to show your support, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.